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Nanotechnology. 2008 Jul 2;19(26):265101. doi: 10.1088/0957-4484/19/26/265101. Epub 2008 May 19.

Increased osteoblast density in the presence of novel calcium phosphate coated magnetic nanoparticles.

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Division of Engineering and Department of Orthopedics, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA.


Bone diseases (including osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and bone cancer) are of great concern to the medical world. Drugs are available to treat such diseases, but often these drugs are not specifically targeted to the site of the disease and, thus, lack an immediate directed therapeutic effect. The optimal drug delivery system should enhance healthy bone growth with high specificity to the site of bone disease. It has been previously shown that magnetic nanoparticles can be directed in the presence of a magnetic field to any part of the body, allowing for site-specific drug delivery and possibly an immediate increase in bone density. The objective of the present study was to build off of this evidence and determine the density of osteoblasts (bone forming cells) in the presence of various uncoated and coated magnetic nanoparticles that could eventually be used in drug delivery applications. Results showed that some magnetic nanoparticles (specifically, γ-Fe(2)O(3)) significantly promoted osteoblast density (that is, cells per well) after 5 and 8 days of culture compared to controls (no particles). These magnetic nanoparticles were further coated with calcium phosphate (CaP; the main inorganic component of bone) to tailor them for treating various bone diseases. The coatings were conducted in the presence of either bovine serum albumin (BSA) or citric acid (CA) to reduce magnetic nanoparticle agglomeration, a common problem resulting from the use of nanoparticles which decreases their effectiveness. Results with these coatings showed that magnetic nanoparticles, specifically (γ-Fe(2)O(3)), coated in the presence of BSA significantly increased osteoblast density compared to controls after 1 day. In this manner, this study provided unexpected evidence that CaP-coated γ-Fe(2)O(3) magnetic nanoparticles increased osteoblast density (compared to no particles) and, thus, should be further studied to treat numerous bone diseases.

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